Time and Tides

Chapter 1

The two young men sat on the beach, staring contemplatively at the sea. One of the young men, blond shaggy haired and sloppily attired in a shirt and jeans, took a deep inhalation of a cigarette and leant back.

The other man sat up still, watching the waves crash and subside. He swept some dark hair back from his face. "Wilk, what are you going to do?"

Wilk opened his eyes and yawned widely. "Dunno," he muttered, rubbing his eyes with the fingers not clutching the cigarette. "S'pose I'll just work with Dad in the shop."

He closed his eyes again. Laguna looked up at the darkening twilight. The sun was setting in a confused haze of colours, a sunset that denied definition.

Laguna tapped his fingers together. He had no easy future waiting for him, his parents had died when he was still young, and a widow had been his only parent figure for most of his life. Besides, he didn't want to spend the rest of his life in the little village, sinking deeper into a mire of mediocrity.

Wilk seemed satisfied though, he had his life planned out years ahead. He would work in the shop, and then when his father retired, he would take over. He would marry Rosen and they would have children, and live a life of peaceful domesticity.

Laguna flopped back into the sand, he didn't want that. But he just wasn't sure what he wanted. With a lazy smile, Wilk opened his eyes and passed over the cigarette. Laguna took it cautiously. Holding it loosely it in fingers, he studied it.

Wilk chuckled, a slow amused sound. "Man, you smoke it, not look at it." He laughed again.

Laguna almost frowned, but kept silent. He took a tentative drag, and almost coughed his lungs out a moment later. Wilk carefully extracted the tube from Laguna's flailing hands, and cast him a cursory concerned glance. The coughing fit lasted another minute, which Wilk sat through patiently. Once the hacking cough had subsided, Laguna lay back again.

Wilk sniffed "Dude, it was like that for me the first time. Want another go?"

Laguna gave a look which clearly said 'I would rather pull my own spleen out through my ears'. However Wilk appeared not to notice and Laguna had to politely refuse in a weak breathy voice, not quite recovered from his coughing fit.

Wilk shrugged and took a deep breathe in himself. "So, Laguna, what do you wanna do?" he asked conversationally. He slapped ineffectually at a fly that buzzed around him.

Laguna sat with his knees drawn up to his chin. His long hair swayed gently in front of his eyes. "I don't know." He said simply.

Wilk laughed and clapped a cheerful hand on Laguna's shoulder "Hey you could come work in the shop!" he said encouragingly.

Laguna managed a weak smile. "Thanks for the offer." He said, not committing. He would slowly drown in the silent days, if he stayed here, he realised suddenly.

Wilk was still talking "…Yeah! We could hang out everyday! Me an' Rosen, you an'…that hot chick, what's her name?" he thought hard for a few seconds. "Connie. Dude, we'll be like, adults." Laguna nodded, and Wilk continued with his vision for the future.

His voice faded into the background. The only sounds were the waves and the gentle swish of the grassy dunes in the breeze. Laguna sighed and linked his fingers. His options in the village seemed small, and dare he think it, boring. Then his only option was – he caught his breath. He would leave! He smiled suddenly, eyes shining.

Wilk saw his sudden smile and mistook the reason, "Yeah man I'm serious! Connie totally wants you!" He elbowed his friend slyly.

Laguna grinned, happy a choice had been made. He'd probably delay telling Wilk though, he wouldn't understand. He stood up suddenly, brushing sand off his dark trousers. "You think so?" he asked curiously. Wilk stood up as well, waving a casual hand "Yeah, Rosen told me."

Laguna frowned "Should I talk to her?" Wilk pushed him lightly. "Totally!"

Suddenly, the dark haired man doubled up in pain, clutching his leg. Wilk sighed heavily. Laguna gasped "Cramp!"

Wilk laughed, moving on ahead through the dunes "Dude, seriously, chill!" Laguna rolled his eyes, while gritting his teeth. "Its an ailment I tell you!" he shouted after his friend. Grumbling, he limped after him as night gradually overtook the scene.

Laguna sat at the table, fiddling with a flower head in the delicate vase. The morning sun flooded through the windows, filling the room with light. Lora bustled around the simple kitchen, spooning porridge into a bowl.

"What's the matter?" asked Lora brusquely, her grey hair catching the sunshine. She placed the bowl in front of him, and placed her hands on her hips "You've had your head in the clouds these last two days." She tilted her head, concerned.

Laguna looked up and then grinned sheepishly as the flower dropped into his porridge. "Sorry Lora, I've…just been thinking really."

Lora smiled and tapped his head "So there is life in there?" she teased, not unkindly. She picked up his bowl again and picked out the flower. He scratched the back of head with an apologetic smile. She gave it back and sat down on the other side of the table. Laguna stirred the porridge and looked up inquisitively as Lora continued to watch him with a serious expression.

"You know, you were just a little boy of three when you came here. I knew you special even then." She said abruptly.

Laguna flushed and started to protest, but Lora hushed him "Let me finish." Laguna nodded and fell silent.

"I knew you were special. Just the same as I know you're going to have to leave at some point, because you're not going to find your future here. What will do for Wilk won't do for you. Laguna," she took his hand, and looked at him earnestly "I don't mind if you want to leave, I will miss you, but you've a path to find."

Laguna laughed softly "How did you know?"

Lora chuckled and gave him a sly sideways look "You've had cramp six times when you've passed the train station."

Laguna sighed with a smile and leant back. "I just don't know how I'm going to tell Wilk…" he said sadly.

Lora patted his hands understandingly. "He may be confused at first, but he'll come round." She stood up briskly, the solemn moment broken.

"Now eat your porridge."

Laguna complied meekly.

Later, Laguna returned to the house, shutting the door moodily. Lora glanced up from her sewing "How'd he take it?"

He groaned and buried his head in his hands. Wilk hadn't been too bad taking the news. He hadn't been angry, or even felt betrayed. He'd just seemed…sad.

But he'd accepted it in the way Wilk always would, with a shrug.

"He was okay." Laguna replied evasively.

He sighed and leant back, and then smiled foolishly. He would be leaving tomorrow.

He'd decided he'd go to Deling City and… see what happened from there.

He didn't really have a plan, or know anything about Deling City...he'd just go with the flow really.

He'd make it, one way or another.

My small homage to Laguna…Hope its correct...Can't remember too well if FF8 has anything about Laguna's past.

Please review!